LAGRANGE – A year ago, the LaGrange Academy Warriors were left out of the state party.
The Warriors lost in the opening round of their region tournament, denying them a spot in the 16-team GISA state tournament.
The Warriors are back at state this year, though, and they’re looking to make some noise.
LaGrange Academy, which finished third in the Region 1-AA tournament, will be in Valdosta today to take on Region 3-AA runnerup Highland Christian, with tip-off set for 5:30 p.m.
If LaGrange Academy wins, it would play either First Presbyterian or Piedmont in a second-round game on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
After that, the state tournament moves to Macon for the semifinals.
The final-four games are set for March 3, and the championship game will be on March 5.
“We feel like we’ve got a good chance to make a run,” LaGrange Academy head coach Britt Gaylor said. “We’ve got a good matchup. It’s going to be a competitive game (today), and hopefully we can keep surviving and advancing.”
Gaylor said the strength of Highland Christian’s team is its guard play.
“They’ve got some really good guards,” Gaylor said. “They’ve got two guards in particular that shoot the ball real well, and they’re kind of their go-to players. We have the height advantage, but they have some good guards, and we’ll have to figure out how to stop them.”
Senior Whit Moreman, along with junior Lincoln Anderson, helps give the Warriors that height advantage, and they have a number of outside shooters who can make opponents pay if they give too much attention to the inside guys.
“We expect them to pack it in, and we have a game plan to attack it,” Gaylor said. “We’ll see what happens.”
This is Gaylor’s fourth season as LaGrange Academy’s head coach, so he has been with this group of seniors for four years now.
After the disappointment of not making it to state a year ago, Gaylor is glad the seniors are getting the chance to chase a championship this season.
“They’re special to me,” Gaylor said of the seniors. “It means a lot to get back to the state tournament with them.”
LaGrange Academy’s girls’ team also made it to the state tournament, and it lost to Crisp Academy on Wednesday in a first-round game.
The Lady Warriors finished fourth in the region tournament to earn their state berth.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports